LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – During the next few months, two-way traffic will be returning to both Main Street and Church Street in downtown Lynchburg for the first time in decades.
The change is a part of the 2040 Downtown Master Plan adopted by Lynchburg City Council on Nov. 13, 2018.
The transition from the current one-way streets to two-way streets will occur in three phases in order to mesh with the ongoing Main Street Renewal Project.
The purpose for restoring two-way traffic is multi-faceted; however, the main aspect of the change is to “create a downtown environment that is more comfortable for pedestrians,” says the city.
The one-way traffic scenario was instituted during a time period when people did not spend time downtown. The prime objective of the street pattern was the quick movement of vehicles both into and out of downtown.
Additional factors of the decision to restore two-way traffic include:
- Increased business visibility due to drivers approaching from two different directions instead of one
- More efficient vehicle circulation options both for everyday activities and during special events, emergency events and construction activities
- Less confusing to visitors
- Less turning movements required
The plan for conversion:
- Phase 1
- Main Street from Fifth Street to 11th Street: As currently scheduled, during the week of July 26, Main Street will become two-way between Fifth Street and 11th Street while the 1100 block of Main Street (between 11th Street and 12th Street) will remain closed to all through traffic. This closure is to allow construction of the “arrival pad,” a geometric pattern of tiled pavers to be constructed in that block at that time. All east-bound traffic on Main Street (the new travel direction) will be required to turn right at 11th Street due to the closure of the 1100 block. All west-bound traffic on Main Street will be detoured at 12th Street. Message boards will be posted on the John Lynch Bridge approaching downtown from Amherst County, on the Rivermont Avenue bridge approaching downtown from the west and on Fifth Street approaching downtown from the mid-town area to remind drivers of the new traffic patterns. In addition, signs will be posted on Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and 11th Streets approaching Main Street alerting motorists to the new pattern.
- Phase 2
- Main Street – Full Length: Near the end of September and upon completion of the arrival pad in the 1100 block of Main Street, that block will open to two-way traffic allowing through traffic in both directions on Main Street from Fifth Street to the end of Main Street beyond the Lynchburg Expressway.
- Phase 3
- Church Street – Full Length: Also occurring near the end of September, Church Street will be converted to two-way traffic from Fifth Street to Washington Street. Once again, message boards will be posted at the John Lynch Bridge, Rivermont Avenue and Fifth Street approaching downtown, along with a message board on 12th Street approaching downtown alerting drivers to the new traffic pattern. Signs will be posted at Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, 11th, 12th, 13th and Washington Streets approaching Church Street noting the change in the traffic pattern.
- Seventh Street and Eighth Street: Concurrent with the conversion of Church Street from one-way to two-way, Seventh Street (between Main Street and Church Street) and Eighth Street (between Commerce Street and Church Street) will be converted from their current two-way configurations back to one-way. Traffic on Seventh Street will become one-way only heading downhill from Church Street towards Main Street. Traffic on Eighth Street will become one-way only heading uphill from Commerce Street to Main Street to Church Street. This will allow the addition of more parking spaces in all three of these blocks. Signs will be posted on Main, Church and Commerce Streets alerting drivers to the changed configuration.
- Rivermont Avenue Approaching Fifth Street: The split of traffic from the Rivermont Avenue Bridge towards Church Street and away from Main Street will retain its current one-way configuration.
A detailed view of the final plan can be found below.
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